National Take Back Initiative Set for Saturday - WSET.com - ABC13

National Take Back Initiative Set for Saturday

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Roanoke County, VA - After collecting more than 276 tons of unused or outdated medicines in April, the Drug Enforcement Agency is gearing up for another event.

Localities across the state are gearing up to take in tons of prescription medicine that residents are expected to turn over on Saturday.

That's when the DEA will hold its fifth event in two years as they look to collect outdated medicine before it is flushed down the toilet.

In the Roanoke Valley alone, the previous four events have collected more than 3,600 pounds of medicines.

"We realized we needed to be proactive to teach people not to put medications down the drain," said Sarah Baumgardner with the Western Virginia Regional Water Authority.

Baumgardner has been a driving force in this area for gathering outdated prescriptions.

She says recent studies do show some prescription drug residue in places like the Roanoke River... but say those traces are too small to cause problems... for now.

"The concern is if those amounts grew it could have an impact on aquatic life and possibly impacts on humans," said Baumgardner.

However a bigger concerns concern is over teenagers.

"The first place they go get this stuff is often the medicine cabinet at home because it's accessible," said Officer Nathan Hartwell with the Roanoke County Police Department.

And while prescription drug use among teens dropped 14% last year nationwide... authorities don't want to let the pressure up.

"And once they have access to it shows up at parties, in the school system. One kid brings it and gives it to another kid to try or sample... or worst case scenario sell it or something like that," said Hartwell.

The event runs from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. You can find a location near you here.

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